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PCI Survey

Survey Results on the Use of Galvanizing for Precast Concrete Structures
In preparation for a presentation to the American Galvanizers Association, a survey was sent to PCI Producer Members in January 2006 to determine industry practices. The following is a summary of the results along with a commentary based on literature published by PCI or others.
REINFORCEMENT 1. What percent of your reinforcement is galvanized? a. 57% use no galvanizing on rebar—of the other 43%: 32% are using galvanizing with 1% of rebar 21% are using galvanizing with 2% of rebar 26% are using galvanizing with 5% of rebar 11% are using galvanizing with 10% of rebar 5% are using galvanizing with 15% of rebar 6% are using galvanizing with 80% of rebar 1a—Commentary: Zinc-coated (galvanized) reinforcement shall conform to ASTM A 767/A 767M and be chromate treated, as per ASTM A 767/A 767M, or be allowed to weather until whitish deposits appear on the galvanized surface.1–3 The existence of a chromate coating on the surface of the zinc may be determined using ASTM B 201.4 The presence of a chromate film is usually visible as a light yellow tint or clear on the surface of the galvanized surface. When the galvanized surface has access to freely moving air in normal atmospheric exposure, the surface reacts with 

rainfall or dew to form zinc hydroxide. During drying the zinc hydroxide reacts with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and is converted into a thin, compact, and tightly adherent layer of basic zinc carbonate. This relatively insoluble layer minimizes the generation of hydrogen bubbles. In ASTM A 767, a clear definition is not given as to which Class applied to various reinforcement sizes.1 It is usual to assume that a Class I coating applies to the heavier structural bars, while Class II applies to the lighter structural bars and to architectural or non-loadbearing bars. b. 59% use no galvanizing on WWR—of the other 41%: 22% are using galvanizing with 1% of WWR 22% are using galvanizing with 2% of WWR 22% are using galvanizing with 5% of WWR 17% are using galvanizing with 10% of WWR 11% are using galvanizing with 15% of WWR 6% are using galvanizing with 100% of WWR 1b—Commentary: Galvanized welded wire reinforcement (WWR) shall be made from zinc-coated (galvanized) carbon steel wire conforming to ASTM A 641, or be hot-dipped galvanized and be chromate treated, or be allowed to weather.2–3,5 2. Why have you used galvanized reinforcement?  15%—inadequate cover based on American Concrete Institute (ACI) 318-05, Section 82%—specified on projects 3%—regular practice to avoid rusting in storage

Problems during production? a. Cost of galvanized reinforcement over black steel? Rebar WWR Range: $0. Structure type where galvanizing has been used? a. Galvanic reaction with steel forms f. whichever is larger. H  ave you used both galvanized and plain reinforcement in the same units? Yes—56% No—44% 9—Commentary: Refer to the March–April 2000 PCI Journal article “Strand Slippage and Galvanized Reinforcement.15 to 0.30 % basis: 20 to 100% 25 to 60% Average: 57% 35% 7.1 Where galvanizing of reinforcing bars is required. W  hen using both plain and galvanized. 10./ft2 [610 g/m2]) is normally specified for precast concrete units.” which also discusses potential problems with galvanized reinforcing steel. galvanizing is usually performed after fabrication. which discusses shadowing of reinforcing bars and concrete sticking to the formwork upon stripping of the member.30 $0. (19 mm) with galvanized reinforcement when the precast concrete members are acid treated. while Utah DOT does. T  ypical lead time for galvanized reinforcement (days/weeks)? Rebar and WWR: Range: 1 to 90 days 48% took 4 to 12 weeks Average: 3 weeks 6. Lead time b.50 $0.  Do you bend reinforcement before or after galvanizing? Before—93% After—7% 11—Commentary: Bars to be galvanized shall be bent in accordance with Table 2 in ASTM A 767/A 767M. while North and South Carolina DOTs do not. Scraping off of coating 9. When galvanizing is performed before bending. or subjected to other severe exposure condition. Thin wythe sandwich panels 8. W  hat percentage of your projects have galvanized reinforcement specified? 20%—0% specified 38%—1% specified 14%—2% specified 24%—5% specified 5%—10% specified 5%—15% specified 14%—20% specified 3—Commentary: The Virginia Department of Transportation (DOT) specifies galvanized reinforcement. The ASTM A 767/A 767M specification prescribes minimum finished bend diameters for bars that are fabricated before galvanizing. The ASTM A 767/A 767M specification has two classes of zinc coating weights: Class II (2. do you use electrical separation materials? No—100% 10—Commentary: Galvanized reinforcement shall not be directly coupled to large areas of uncoated steel reinforcement unless plastic tie wire is used and local insulation is provided with dielectric materials.2—Commentary: Cover requirements should be ¾ in.  Welding of secondary reinforcement or welding during erection e. ASTM A 767/A 767M contains Appendix X2: Guidelines for Use of Galvanized Reinforcing Bars with Non-Galvanized Steel Formwork.0 oz. New York State DOT does not allow galvanized mild steel reinforcement in prestressed concrete members.  Architectural precast concrete (no building type specified) c. 4. and water treatment facilities d. exposed to a corrosive environment. The tendency  May–June 2006 .  Parking structures in coastal areas and in northern areas where deicers are used b. the cover should be greater than 1 ½ times the nominal maximum aggregate size (particularly if a face concrete is used) or equal to the specified concrete cover.1 11. Embrittlement—brittleness/cracking d.2–3 The bimetallic couple established by direct contact between galvanized steel and uncoated steel should not exhibit corrosive reactions as long as the depth to zinc/steel contact is not less than the cover required to protect uncoated steel alone under the same conditions or the galvanized mass is larger than the uncoated steel mass. Zinc-coated (galvanized) reinforcement supported from the form shall rest on bar supports made of dielectric material or other acceptable materials.50 Average: $0. Retardation of concrete surface (face down in form) g. food processing. such as polyethylene or similar tape.13 to 0. Smaller finished bend diameters are permitted if the bars are stress-relieved. Availability of galvanized reinforcement? Readily available—67% of respondents Difficult to obtain—33% of respondents 5. some cracking and flaking of the galvanized coating at the bend is to be expected and is not a cause of rejection. For all exposure conditions.2–3 Also.  Bridges.7 There are other anodic inhibitors (to passivate the zinc surface) that are being investigated to replace chromates. Reinforcement shadowing and surface scaling c. 3.

recommendations from suppliers are to have splicing devices galvanized or electroplated if threaded.9 PCI literature does not mention requirements for coating mechanical splices. 18.50 per pound Average: $0.for cracking of the galvanized coating increases with bar diameter and with severity and rate of bending. 20. when an alloy or metal is not perfectly homogeneous. Typical lead time for galvanized plates? Range: 1 to 90 days 23%: 30 days or more 36%: 14 days 41%: 7 days or less Average: 42 days 23. 8 Also.11 The following is a summary of the recommendations: 1. H  ave you welded galvanized plates to non-galvanized plates? Yes—44% No—56% 17. An uncoated electrode should be used whenever possible to prevent flux deposits. “Remove reinforcement coating in the area of the mechanical splice if required by the splice manufacturer. 21. Uncertainty exists on the effect of galvanizing on the brittleness of bars of different composition and with different degrees of work hardening. CONNECTIONS 13. D  o you connect plain reinforcement to galvanized plates? Yes—35% No—65% 19. 14. are described in Precast Prestressed Parking Structures: Recommended Practice for Design and Construction and in the May–June 1998 PCI Journal article “Guidelines for Welding Galvanized Steel. sheared ends shall be coated with a zinc-rich formulation.”10. repair coating damage and areas of removed coating in accordance with ASTM A 780. Some authorities state that it is generally easier and more economical to galvanize straight lengths of reinforcing bars with all fabrication being done after galvanizing. There is some argument that it is preferable to bend cold-worked bars after galvanizing. (5 mm) in width that they be repaired.05 to $0. Do you repair scratches on reinforcement? Yes—41% No—59% 12—Commentary: ASTM A 767/A 767M requires that all damaged coating be repaired with a zinc-rich formulation (92% to 95% metallic zinc in the dry film) in accordance with ASTM A 780/A 780M. D  o you remove galvanizing on reinforcement before welding: Yes—73% No—27% 15. After installing mechanical splices on galvanized reinforcement.32 per pound 24. such as anchor bars to plates. Is accessory welded together before galvanizing? Yes—97% No—3% 24—Commentary: Procedures for welding a connection assembly. Galvanic action tends to be more active where there is a high ratio of black steel surface area to galvanized coating surface area. Coat exposed parts of mechanical splices used on coated bars with the same material used to repair coating damage.1. Cost of galvanized over plain steel plates? Range:  Depends on the weight of the plate—$0. Galvanic currents occur when two dissimilar metals are in contact in the presence of an electrolyte. then a new WPS and welder recertification is not required. D  o you galvanize mechanical couplers when reinforcement is galvanized? Yes—55% No—45% 13—Commentary: ACI 301 states. A  re non-galvanized studs welded to galvanized plates? Yes—26% No—74%  18. and 19—Commentary: Dissimilar metals shall not be embedded near or in direct contact with each other in moist or saturated concrete unless experience has shown that no detrimental chemical or electrochemical (galvanic) reactions will occur or surfaces are permanently protected against corrosion.” 8. Availability of galvanized plates? Readily available —78% Difficult to obtain—22% 22. PCI JOURNAL . if the galvanized coating is removed so that the base material is the same as in the existing WPS. 17. or when different parts of a metal have been subjected to different heat treatments or mechanical stresses. H  ave you developed a Welding Procedure Specification (WPS)? Yes—63% No—37% 16. 12. Do you repair scratched areas? Yes—73% No—28% 20—Commentary: It is recommended that when damaged areas exceed 3⁄16 in. However. even at the risk of damaging the zinc coating.  Do you remove galvanizing on plates before welding: Yes—70% No—30% 16—Commentary: For galvanized connections.

shearing. In some cases. 4. This is a ductile-to-brittle change occurring in certain high-strength steels. but at galvanizing temperatures it is generally expelled from the steel. Hydrogen released during the pickling operations.  For steels with a carbon content between 0. If less than 3t bending is unavoidable. 5. then have the plates galvanized. Coldworking of susceptible steels is better avoided. (19 mm). 25. If galvanized studs are used. The embrittlement may not be evident until after the work has been galvanized. H  ave you encountered size or weight limitations on galvanizing? Yes—22% No—78% 26. as recommended by welding equipment suppliers.1% and 0. 3. tungsten-inert gas (TIG). The welding procedure utilized should be prequalified per AWS D1. 4. stress-relieve as recommended in Item 3. If special-process welding is not available.  Choose steel with low-transition temperatures. It may be necessary to either remove the zinc-rich primers from the vicinity of the joint before welding or use a higher preheating temperature than would be used on uncoated steel. the material should be stress-relieved at 1100 °F (592 °C) for one hour per inch of section thickness. and refer to Item 2. flame cleaning.2. This occurs because aging is relatively slow at ambient temperatures but is more rapid at the elevated temperatures of the galvanizing bath.4. Where cold-working cannot be avoided. (50 mm) of the weld joint.15. (3 mm) overall or drilled to size. The hydrogen content of a weld can be  . If holes are punched.12 6.  In critical applications. such as metal-inert gas (MIG). a bending radius of at least three times the section thickness (3t) should be maintained. notching. Some producers have found that it is less expensive to have the plates drilled and tapped for jigging. If a coated electrode is used. such as bending of anchor bars. It is recognized that any form of cold-working May–June 2006 reduces the ductility of steel. or carbon dioxide (CO2) shielded arc. chipping. needle gun. ASTM A 143 and Canadian Standards Association Specification G164 provide guidance.25%. select a coated rod specifically designed for self-slagging. because this is cheaper than paying for coating the weight of the fabricated embed plate. In some instances. The following precautions are recommended by the American Hot Dip Galvanizers Association: 1.16 Another area of concern is hydrogen embrittlement. Hydrogen may also originate from the decomposition products of primers. holes in material thicker than ¾ in. 2.  Drill. is recommended when possible because it produces essentially no slag. 6. their existence will produce rough and incomplete zinc coverage. 7. 3. Have you had steel embrittlement problems? Yes—28% No—72% 26—Commentary: Methods to avoid strain-age and hydrogen embrittlement are both discussed in PCI’s Architectural Precast Concrete and the PCI Journal article “Guidelines for Welding Galvanized Steel.”11. (16 mm) thick and subject to tensile loads should be machined or machine cut. They grind off the galvanizing and then weld on the anchorage. and sharp bending may lead to strain-age embrittlement of susceptible steels. rather than punch. it is essential to remove the zinc from the end of the face of the stud before welding and from the surface of the plate in the area where the stud is to be welded. since cold-working raises the ductilebrittle transition temperature and galvanizing (heating) may raise it even farther.  Select steel with a carbon content below 0. the weld metal may be violently expelled from the joint because of volatilization of the zinc from the faying surface. Operations such as punching holes. Welding of galvanized reinforcing bars without removal of the coating can be carried out using shielded metal arc welding or CO2 gas metal arc welding performed in accordance with American Welding Society (AWS) D 1. A welding process. prior to hot dipping. can cause this embrittlement.13 Welding of galvanized bars may also be done after removing all the coating from within 2 in. 5. cold-working may cause the steel to become strain-age embrittled.1. 6t yields even better results. if at all possible. they should be punched undersize then reamed an additional 1⁄8 in.  Edges of steel sections greater than 5⁄8 in. the steel should be hot worked above 1200 °F (650 °C) in accordance with the steelmaker’s recommendation. or abrasive blast cleaning. grinding. This is necessary because welding flux residues are chemically inert in the normal pickling solutions used by galvanizers. all welding-flux residues must be removed by wire brushing.25%. producing fillets of small radii. The precautions necessary for the avoidance of hydrogen-induced cracking of the heat-affected zone include such measures as reduction in cooling rate of the joint by the use of preheat or the use of large diameter electrodes at high currents. If the end face is zinc-coated. The hydrogen can be absorbed into the steel during the acid pickling.14 The following is excerpted from these publications: Many parts of connection components are fabricated using cold-rolled steel or cold-working techniques.

Chicago.4. Chicago. PCI Journal. ACI Committee 301. MNL-122. 7. AWS D1. Problems and Solutions: Strand Slippage with Galvanized Reinforcement. Standard Specification for ZincCoated (Galvanized) Steel Bars for Concrete Reinforcement. 3 (May– June): pp. Architectural Precast Concrete Services Committee and Plant Certification Committee. In those cases. 116–117. ASTM International. 2. Manual for Quality Control for Plants and Production of Structural Precast Concrete Products. 43. Standard Practice for Testing Chromate Coatings on Zinc and Cadmium Surfaces. 10. Kidlington. ASTM International. 45. Standard Practice for Repair of Damaged and Uncoated Areas of Hot-Dip Galvanized Coatings. 5. No. U. Hot Dip Galvanizing of Irregularly Shaped Articles (Specification G164). Committee on Parking and Structures. ASTM International. ASTM B 201. Hydrogen embrittlement is not common. ASTM A 780/A 780M.increased when it is deposited on galvanized or zinc-rich primed steel. Structural Welding Code—Steel. 16.17 References 1. 1998. designers. PCI Journal. 2 (March–April): pp. specifiers. V. ASTM International. 2000. Standard Specification for Zinc-Coated (Galvanized) Carbon Steel Wire. resulting in long exposure in hydrogen chloride. pp. Guidelines for Welding Galvanized Steel. 6. 14. American Welding Society. IL: Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI). IL: PCI. Precast Prestressed Parking Structures: Recommended Practice for Design and Construction. ASTM A 641.: Elsevier Science. Plant Certification Committee. grit blasting is recommended instead of acid pickling. Gregory. Farmington Hills. Yeomans’ Galvanized Steel Reinforcement in Concrete is another comprehensive reference book on galvanizing for engineers. 9. 4. Yeomans. IL: PCI.6. 11.K. IL: PCI. 8. ASTM International. 40–48 12. 15. and Thomas Langill.000 psi (1034 MPa) or if the pickling process is poorly controlled. ASTM A 767/A 767M-05. Manual for Quality Control for Plants and Production of Architectural Precast Concrete Products. 17.1. Architectural Precast Concrete Manual Committee. American Welding Society. ASTM A 143. 2004. MI: American Concrete Institute. Section 7. Structural Welding Code—Reinforcing Steel. Freedman. MNL-117. 2005. Chicago. 5-3 and 5-4. 3. but precautions should be taken if the steel involved has an ultimate tensile strength exceeding approximately 150. ACI Committee 318. CSA. Architectural Precast Concrete. Galvanized Steel Reinforcement in Concrete. Canadian Standards Association. MNL-116. Farmington Hill. Chicago. Specifications for Structural Concrete (ACI 301). Stephen R. Standard Practice for Safeguarding Against Embrittlement of Hot-Dip Galvanized Structural Steel Products and Procedure for Detecting Embrittlement. MNL-129. No. Livelli. Sidney.7. Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete and Commentary (ACI 318-05). Stephen R. and researchers. V. MI: American Concrete Institute. 13.  PCI JOURNAL . AWS D1. 2005.

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